by Terri Smallwood
star watchers, to March, the last official month of winter in the Northern
Hemisphere and the watery domain of Pisces, the Fish.
no better month to talk about the elusive substance that is consciousness than
under the influence of Pisces. Ruled by Neptune and corresponding to the
element of water, Pisces is an enigmatic sign. In the natural wheel of the
zodiac, Pisces is the 12th and last sign, and as such is often considered to be
a very spiritual sign filled with a compassionate wisdom that comes with the
accumulated knowledge of the previous 11 signs.
12th house rules the unconscious mind. It belongs to a group of houses called
the cadent houses. These houses, the
3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th, and their corresponding signs of Gemini, Virgo,
Sagittarius and Pisces, form what esoteric astrologers call the Mutable Cross,
a name that indicates the shared modality of these four houses.
this cross we see two arms: the axis shared by Gemini and Sagittarius and the
axis shared by Virgo and Pisces. The first axis runs through the 3rd and 9th
houses and gifts both houses with a passion for learning. Learning in the 3rd
house takes place through the areas that Gemini and its ruler Mercury are
comfortable in; areas that are associated with childhood, such as sibling
relationships, primary education and learning through the experiences that come
into our daily lives. The 9th house takes these personal experiences and
projects them into the world at large. The Sagittarian-influenced 9th house
seeks to accumulate knowledge in a more public sphere, via long-distance travel
and institutions of higher learning.
second arm of the Mutable Cross bridges the 6th and 12th houses. This axis is
also strongly influenced by the intellect, owing to Mercurys dual role as
ruler of both Gemini and Virgo. However, here the focus is on sharing and
disseminating knowledge, rather than simply accumulating experiences. Virgo and
Pisces share a passion for service. In Virgo, the notion of service is
expressed organizationally and analytically, with a focus on practical work
that benefits others. The realm of Pisces and the 12th house is not so
concrete. Here we see service expressed as a set of ideals the quick
Mercurial mind of Virgo is immersed into Neptunes waters, and the strong set
of black and white values held by Virgo becomes a palette of greys.
a sad irony that the downfall of Pisces is also in part her best quality. The
sympathetic nature of the Fish is so imbued with compassionate understanding
for humanity that she often finds herself mired in the greys. This is not the
indecisiveness of Libra, nor is it a dispassionate refusal to take a stand.
Pisces is so infused with empathic ability that its almost impossible for her to
take one side against another. She feels deeply the plight of all sides, and
understands more than most the wholeness that unites even the most disparate of
much the Piscean would wish for it to be otherwise, there are two sides to this
type of behaviour. The advantages of a compassionate and soulful nature speak
for themselves. The flip side is that Pisces deep understanding of humanity
and her non-judgmental nature allow her to turn something of a blind eye when
confronted with behaviour that is less than charming, even downright criminal.
Theres a strong association between Pisces and the 12th house and things like
smuggling (especially by sea), drug trafficking and drug abuse, alcoholism, and
institutions like mental hospitals and prisons. Its that darn Neptunian
energy, so very elusive and so difficult for most of us to understand, let
alone apply in a concrete and positive way in our daily lives.
like our consciousness, has been in a process of evolution since the very
beginnings of time. As human consciousness expanded from an animalistic
survival mentality to an understanding of family and tribes, and then further
into the realms of art and science, so did astrology. Modern western astrology
can trace its roots back thousands of years to the people of ancient
Mesopotamia (the land now called Iraq).
earliest astrology was a study of omens and signs, based on the movements of
the most visible of planets and luminaries, the Sun, the Moon, Venus and Mars.
As the culture flourished and advances were made in mathematics and astronomy,
astrology became ever more complex. An article by Robert Hand, The History of
Astrology Another View,
puts together a fascinating chronology of human history and advances in
astronomy and astrology that crosses time and culture. Intuitively, it makes
sense that as people began to understand observable natural phenomena, such as
the regular movement of planets across a sky of fixed stars, their system of
astrology would deepen correspondingly.
this mean that ancient people did not experience the transformative cycles of
Pluto or the karmic transits of Saturn as we do now? No. And yes. Just as a
radio needs to be tuned to a particular frequency to receive an audible signal,
so does human consciousness. The energy of the outer planets, the ones not
observable until the invention of the telescope thousands of years after the
development of astrology, has always been available to Earthlings. But our
understanding of our planet, its role in the universe and our role upon it
needed time to grow. As early astronomers made new discoveries, astrology
assimilated the knowledge and increased in complexity. Alongside this growth
were advances in philosophy, art, language and religion. Little by little our
thinking grew increasingly abstract, our intuition sharpened, our ability to
create and appreciate beauty and form expanded.
the eighth planet from the Sun, was discovered on September 23, 1846, by German
astronomer Johann Galle after eccentricities in the orbit of Uranus pointed the
way to this distant gas giant. Neptunes debut coincided with the rise of transcendentalism; a school of
philosophy that originated in Boston in the 1830s and was popularized by
American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emersons transcendentalism was a
revolutionary school of thought in its day. A reaction to the strictly dogmatic
religious belief systems popular at the time, transcendentalism saw a distinct
relationship between the universe and the individual soul. Intuition was valued
highly and mysticism was practiced to achieve a greater union with the divine
essence that transcendentalists saw in the beauty of nature and the arts.
Humanity was beginning to feel the effects of an unveiled Neptune.
was humanitys growth of consciousness and its need to move beyond purely
dogmatic religion (Jupiter) or the stark world of science and intelligence
(Uranus) that set the stage for Neptunes energy to purposefully permeate our
is known as the higher octave of Venus. Venus, with her love of beauty and
grace, her desire for merger and her gifts in the arts, is often called the
planet of love. Certainly transits of Venus, and Venus aspects in a synastry,
do indicate the presence of an important kind of love. Neptune takes this
exuberant feeling of physical attraction and infatuation (lightly tinted with a
flirty hue of self-absorption) and transforms it into a compassionate and
unconditional experience that exists beyond the level of personality and is
infused with the power of the soul.
greatest example of this variety of powerful and absolute love the love that
conquers all came to us in the form of a man often associated with the sign
of Pisces, though it is unlikely that he was actually a native of the sign.
Jesus, the humble carpenter from Galilee, taught the virtues of unconditional
love and forgiveness and helped to create a bridge from the older
eye-for-an-eye mentality to a way of life that empowered his followers to stop
the vicious cycle of revenge by practicing selfless forgiveness in the face of
extreme adversity. To this day, his example and teachings inspire beautiful
acts of compassion the world over.
is the key to the Piscean nature and is its gift for all the signs to embrace.
The Age of Pisces began with the sacrifice of Jesus, and now, as we are living
through the end of the Piscean Age, the world faces monumental challenges.
Violence and hatred are destroying lives across the globe. The Piscean lesson
of unconditional love has not yet been fully integrated into our collective
consciousness, and at times it feels almost as if there is a force roaming the
planet that delights in our difficulties with this lesson. Everywhere we look
there are labels and names that separate one race from another, one religion
from another, one human from another. As we stand with one foot in the Age of
Pisces and one in the Age of Aquarius we must look ahead to the Aquarian values
of brotherhood to find this last missing piece of our Piscean Age puzzle. In
his 1989 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, His Holiness the Dalai Lama summed
up both the lessons and the gifts of Pisces: True happiness comes from a sense
of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the
cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion.
we learn to channel the mystical and intuitive energy of far-off Neptune, so we
learn to elevate our own standards of love and compassion. Its an elusive,
intangible essence, this gift from deep in space, but the rewards are abundant
and apparent. Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men.